Two women have been sentenced by a Guatemalan court to a number of years in prison for trafficking a stolen baby to a U.S. family that believed it was a lawful adoption.
The 16- and 21-year sentences were given to a lawyer and the legal representative of an adoption agency, who took the baby from the birth mother, Loyda Rodriguez, who has been working to get her daughter back.
Monday, lawyer Alma Beatriz Valle Flores was sentenced to 21 years in prison after being convicted of human trafficking, criminal association, and using false documents. The adoption agency’s legal representative, Enriqueta Noriega Cano, received 16 years for her part in the case.
The child that was stolen was two years when the mother says she was taken away from her. Now 7, the girl is now living in the U.S. the family that believed they had legally adopted her.
Born Anyeli Liseth Hernandez Rodriguez on Oct. 1, 2004, the young girl was with her mother in San Miguel Petapa, Guatemala when the mother said she turned away from her daughter to open the door to her home. When she turned back, she said she saw the girl being whisked away into a taxi.
In 2007, the Guatemalan government suspended adoptions after the number of adoption fraud cases became overwhelming.
Guatemala was once one of the top countries Americans adopted from internationally, with about 4,000 adoptions each year.
Along with their prison sentences, Flores and Cano have been ordered to pay Rodriguez 100,000 quetzales ($25,600) apiece.